Planting Therapy is an amazing way to improve your health with all kinds of gardening activities. For centuries, plants have provided us food and shelter. Indeed, we share an ancient bond with plants. With ancient scriptures and evidence dating all the way back to the Mesopotamian civilization.
Notably, being surrounded by plants is good for your physical and mental well-being. Just looking at plants through a window or walking through a garden has amazing benefits. Moreover, studies show that this can induce a calming effect and reduce stress and anxiety.
Planting Therapy has significant effects on people suffering with mental illnesses and depression. As a matter of fact, plants develop and enhance the flow of positive emotions. And they act as a distraction from negative thoughts.
Besides its mental health benefits, planting therapy has amazing effects on your body too. After all that digging and planting, you’re in for a workout. Naturally, a great way to build muscles and physical strength.
In addition, they can brighten up the environment and improve air quality. Waking up to a view full of plants, with the birds chirping and the sunshine is simply beautiful. Interacting with plants has a lasting and relaxing effect on us.
There are many ways to use plants as a tool to treat mental illnesses. And Planting Therapy is the most popular way. Moreover, it can help create a positive mood and reduce stress. As a coping mechanism, planting therapy helps achieve success and recovery in the long run. Indeed, caring for plants is good therapy.
Principles of Planting Therapy
Ideally, Planting Therapy is based on certain principles:
- People have positive responses to plants and flowers
- The relation between people and plants improves quality of life
- Curiosity is very likely to attract people towards nature
That being said, planting therapy heavily relies on plants and related activities. In fact, research shows that it helpful for people with high blood pressure, depression, addictions and memory problems.
Ultimately, the goal of planting therapy is to help people build confidence, self-esteem and socialize with community. As a result, participants show kindness and are excited to connect with nature. In fact, planting therapy is based on the concept that people have genetic relations with nature.
Besides their aesthetic value, plants have a great therapeutic effect. Sometimes, planting therapy is combined with regular therapy and medication. Indeed, this combination enhances the results of planting therapy.
Studies found that planting therapy improve mental well-being with reduced anxiety and stress. Furthermore, research shows that caring for plants makes people more compassionate to others.
Who invented Planting Therapy?
The father of psychiatry, Dr. Benjamin Rush was the first to discover benefits of planting therapy. He performed experiments involving plants and people with mental illnesses and documented them. Remarkably, the results were astonishing. In addition, he noted certain activities that had positive results.
Over the past century, Planting Therapy became a popular remedy for war veterans and recovering soldiers. Eventually, activities were enhanced for better recovery.
Today, planting therapy is a common practice in most rehabilitation centers, hospitals and similar facilities. Above all, these programs helped shorten hospital stays. These days, planting therapy is common in schools, gardens, nurseries and even correctional facilities.
With advancements in the area came positive effects on brain cognition, memory, socialization and other skills.
Besides all the mental well-being, physical benefits include:
- Muscle strength
Moreover, planting therapy activities also help improve independent problem-solving skills. Essentially, planting therapy is used for much more than treating mental illness.
Planting Therapy and Mental Health
Evidently, many studies show that planting therapy boosts mental health. Some of the benefits include:
Planting therapy provides Relaxation
Being surrounded by plants is a great way to relax and rejuvenate. Indeed, taking care of plants is an escape from life’s stresses. Tending for them with tasks like fertilizing, watering and pruning enhances our connection with nature.
Moreover, these tasks help clear your mind of negative thoughts. In fact, the mindful, rhythmic nature of caring for plants is like meditation.
Gardening gives a sense of authority
Taking care of plants gives you a sense of authority over them. With time, you will appreciate the growth. As a matter of fact, a garden that’s well taken care of shows a person’s responsibility to nature.
Ease of getting started
By visiting parks and gardens, the thought of maintaining them may seem tedious. However, its always easy to start small and grow eventually. The key is to select low-maintenance plants. This way, you will be able to take care of them better.
Tending to plants doesn’t have to be costly or difficult. Keep in mind that a few plants are better than no plants.
An outlet for negative emotions
Planting therapy acts as an outlet for negative thoughts and emotions. Speaking of emotions, you can enhance your emotional well-being by maintaining a garden.
When you don’t make time to care for them, a garden can be overtaken. Besides, you can easily release your frustrations by pruning, weeding or digging.
Planting therapy releases Happy Hormones
Gardening is a good exercise that releases ‘happy hormones’ like dopamine and serotonin. And these hormones elevate mood and make us feel good. In addition, it helps improve sleep quality. Which in turn makes you feel energetic and refreshed throughout the day.
How to integrate Planting Therapy in your life?
Planting therapy can be used in many ways. More importantly, selecting the right method based on your personality and interests is vital. Sometimes, one method may work for you whereas another may not. Hence, planting therapy totally depends on the individual’s choice.
If you’re not sure that you need a horticulture therapist, you could start with some easy steps. These will help you decide whether planting therapy is good for you. Naturally, there are many ways to integrate planting therapy in your life.
You could also use a combination of simple planting therapy methods. However, a professional planting therapy session may have a better result.
These simple ideas will help you out:
Gardening is the basic idea of planting therapy. Its often combined with medication and regular therapy sessions. Generally, planting therapy includes following plant types:
- Fragrant plants like rose, jasmine, gardenia, lavender, mint and chamomile
- Plants with edibles such as fruits, vegetables and medicinal herbs
- Annuals like dahlia, tulips, petunia, marigold and pansies
The relaxation from the rhythmic activity of gardening is what makes people lose into its joy. Notably, working with plants releases feel-good hormones like dopamine.
It also boosts your confidence and self esteem while giving you a sense of responsibility to nature. Indeed, a great way to connect with nature.
Just like essential oils, you need to select the right plants that you’re not allergic to. Or those that may not be safe for pets.
Go for a Walk
Usually, starting out may be hard, but not impossible. After all, you will thank yourself later. So, try going for a walk. Even if you live in a crowded city, just walking through a garden or park is enough. Amazingly, nature can work wonders for your physical and mental well-being.
Start small, one step at a time. And eventually, increase your walking distance and speed. However, cities may have limited options. But gardens are often designed with planting therapy in mind. Sometimes, you may find unique plants that are truly stunning.
Get easy to maintain Plants
Buying exotic tropical plants may seem alluring. But wait, before you get them think about how much time and money you will spend just to maintain them. That’s why its better to get the regional or low-maintenance plants that thrive in local climate.
Houseplants also create a positive environment when placed in certain spots. For beginners, cactus and succulents are good options. Snake or spider plants are also great to start out with. As you gain confidence, go for the bigger leafy plants.
Spend more time in Nature
Naturally, if you stay indoors all day then you really need some time in nature. Our bodies are not designed for being in artificial settings, staring at a screen all the time. Eventually, such habits will impact your physical and mental well-being.
Hence, spending time in nature has the same satisfaction as gardening. The feeling of the sun on your skin, wind in your hair and the birds chirping can work wonders.
Studies show that exercise in nature is much more effective to enhance mood. Notably, these effects are improved with physical activity near water bodies. No matter how short your exercise, its surely bringing some results.
So, whenever you’re feeling down, head to the nearest garden to take a walk. Maybe a little yoga or an outdoor workout too. Laying on the grass in a peaceful spot itself is enough to elevate mood.
Also get your friends and family along to make it a fun social event. Moreover, try joining some garden communities that focus on planting therapy. Spending time in nature is a sure way to boost your mood while connecting with nature.
Essential Oils are used in Aromatherapy to improve mood and mental well-being. These oils are made from various parts of a plant such as leaves, flowers, seeds and roots.
Here are some essential oils for treating depression:
On the other hand, essential oils for treating anxiety include:
Notably, there are a ton of ways you could use them. The most popular way is to use them in a diffuser. However, they can also be used in a bath, massage or applied directly. Ultimately, it all depends on your needs. Sometimes, they are blended using many combinations.
Check out this essential oil kit from Lagunamoon:
However, some oils aren’t safe for pets or if you’ve got health issues like breathing difficulty. Although pure oils give the best results, most of them need to be diluted. As a result, you could avoid side effects like skin irritation. Also ensure that you avoid oils with artificial scents.
Try Vertical Gardening
If you live in a crowded city, space can be a concern. But planting therapy doesn’t stop there. Container or vertical gardening are some amazing ways to maximize use of space. And they’re easy to maintain too!
Check out these simple vertical gardens on Amazon to get started. You could hang them almost anywhere. Just make sure that there’s enough sunlight.
Vertical and Container gardens are probably the most versatile planting methods. They can be as big or small as you want them to be. After all, space is the only restriction.
Moreover, containers are great for experimenting with seeds and new plants. Use your creativity to create unique designs and plant combinations.
Volunteer at Garden Communities
Once you’ve got enough plants and experimented with vertical gardening, try volunteering. Most community gardens and societies welcome volunteers. Indeed, planting therapy can be fun in many ways. Moreover, communities are good for socializing while you get your hands dirty.
Planting therapy can be enhanced by a healthy diet. Besides growing them, consuming plant produce like fruits, vegetables or herbs is very good for your health. So, try to get as many fruits and vegetables in your diet. It can have a positive effect on your mood.
As a matter of fact, research shows the relation between a healthy diet and health. People who choose more fruits and vegetables in their diet were less likely to have health issues. Whereas, processed food was linked to anxiety, depression and stress.
Planting therapy can work wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Indeed, it’s the best way to connect with nature. We saw how the basic principles of planting therapy are good for mental health.
We also discussed the history of planting therapy and ways to integrate it into your lifestyle. Most people think that its all about essential oils and gardening. But, there’s more to it. For instance, having a healthy diet, spending more time in nature or any kind of activities involving plants.
Just being surrounded by plants can improve your health and mood. However, having a professional planting therapy session may have even better results. It’s always a good idea to consult your horticulture therapist for planting therapy.
I hope you enjoyed this article and are inspired to take up planting therapy. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Check out my article on the Health Benefits of Gardening.
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